Matt Pingel – you remember Matt – he’s the kid who opened the Kane County Cougars season with the “Star Spangled Banner” several years ago. You’ll get to hear him at The Park here on July 4. At age 16½, he’s now composing as well as singing.

Sandy Byrnes just returned from a vacation in Las Vegas where she saw Ruth and Tim Owens and family. The Owenses send greetings to friends and neighbors still in this area.

Danielle Riske graduated from Legacy High School with High Honors and a Millennium scholarship. Danielle is the granddaughter of Pat and the late Darlene Riske. Congratulations to Danielle.

Nancy Robinson represented her Sons of Norway Lodge #593 early in June She and Phil Are active members of the lodge. You don’t have to be Norwegian to attend meetings and activities. Check out some of what’s happening at

Irish Fest drew good crowds, but those crowds would have been even bigger if the weatherman had been a little more cooperative. Here are three lovely Shannon Rovers, Else Kelly, Shella Murphy and Peg Maciaf. They and the others said they miss Patrick Doolin.

While you were going about your business last week, a history-making event occurred in the Chicago area. The first Chicago Amateur Piano Competition was presented by the Pianoforte Foundation. The competition was held at the Fine Arts Building and Sherwood Conservatory on Michigan Avenue. For many years, such competitions have been held across the country and around the world, but this is the first one to be held here.

Three local men have been arranging this for about two years. Tom Zoells, Garrett Glass and David Leehey have been arranging for hotel rooms, practice times, schedules, promoting activities before and after the sessions, locating restaurants, maps, etc. for those participating from other countries as well as out-of-towners.

The whole enterprise was underwritten by the Swiss Benevolent Society of Chicago. This society was founded to help Swiss immigrants in 1872 after the Chicago Fire. It has grown into a foundation that supports persons of Swiss descent who are in need, awards merit-based scholarships to students, gives inner-city scholarships for language education, and supports Swiss-American cultural exchanges.

Contestants responded with such enthusiasm, the directors had to make a cut after more than 50 musicians responded. Again the weatherman put on quite a show, beginning with the opening evening dinner when more than half of the participants’ flights into Chicago were cancelled. Later, perhaps to make up for the inconvenience, at about 8:30 in the evening through the dim evening light, a magical rainbow appeared in the sky from one end of Lake Michigan to the other, Milwaukee to Gary. Unforgettable.

Birthdays this week are June Doulder, Kay Madden, Tim Flight, Virginia Callis, Melissa Murgat, Scott McAdam, Ben Reina, Matt Montes, Shannon van Diepen, Sue Pyan, Shirley Christell, Michael Fox, Christy Lyn Cesario, Tina Neubeiser, Patricia Gotier, Nancy Lovell, Nicholas Ross, John O’Donnell, Madalyn Little, Craig Lichtenberg, Emmett Byrne, Michelle Lindgren, Janine Boy Parisi, John Doss, Jackie Clifton, Denise Norton, and Karen Jargstorf. Anniversary greetings to Karen and Colin Chin and Gert and Millard Phebus.